Farm welfare of another type could cause havoc in the Southwest, where a handful of farmers in the Imperial Valley of California are basically holding the residents of at least three states hostage. Farmers get water for next to nothing from the Colorado River and use it to grow cotton in the desert, among other things. Monday, farm reps deep-sixed an agreement which would have given the residents of Southern California, Southern Nevada and Arizona reliable water sources for several decades ... all because ag interests insist on keeping Stalinist-style farm policy alive. Had New Deal-era subsidies been allowed to expire years ago, people in these farm communities would have gradually adopted more sensible, productive ways of life and saved consumers a bundle in the process. An excellent overview of the Imperial Valley controversy appeared in the San Diego Union-Tribune.
Here's an editorial I wrote about the dustup that appeared Thursday. Gale Norton is headed to Vegas to help sort things out. (While she's in town, she'll meet with the editorial board of the R-J, which includes me.)